Your Comments over Online Articles is a Social Obligation

muthusamy By muthusamy, 16th Mar 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Web>Blogs & Blogging

Comments always encourage the writers since someone is reading the website content. Absence of comments will affect the websites performance. Read on to learn online community user behavior studies, the need for desirable writing quality / standard and the reasons for leaving your comments.

Why do We Need Comments?

Here with few random thoughts that come to my mind on blog posts and commenting that I will like to share it with the writing community. Blog posts are written for common public to read. Of course the writers are interested in getting feedback from every one. The feedback may be positive, negative, constructive, offensive or as usual neutral words like interesting, useful tips, nice share and so on. Comments always encourage the writers since someone is reading the blog posts. The more reading of online stuff by common public will greatly influence writers in writing sharing through online media. But unfortunately the cycle is not complete. More and more published posts left without reading or people, who take pain to read usually, leave without making comments. This is unfortunate. Why posts are not read? Why people leave without commenting?

Online community User Behavior Study by Jakob Nielson

You could make out some answer from Jakob Nielsen’s latest study on online community user behavior. The findings indicate that 90% of community users are ‘lurkers’ (lurker means people may visit blog, read blog post and leave without contributing). About 9% of online community users make contributions with less priority and they attach more time and priority for other activities. Just 1% of online community users make active participation and accounting for more contributions. These active users make it as their duty to comment on others. The whole blogging or get to paid online websites rely on these user community. Jakob Nielsen prefer to call it as the ‘90-9-1 rule.’ They read, write, publish posts, comment on others and of course make money as a reward.

Technocrati Study

Another interesting study by Technocrati comes out with interesting statistics: Do you know the size of our Internet population (users)? It is about 1.1 million users. How many of them use weblogs? Just 5% of the total Internet population i.e., about 55 million users use weblogs. How many of the post articles on websites? It is also very meager i.e., just 1.6 million postings are being published on a given day. The reason for not providing answers in terms of number of users is multiple posting by the single author on a given day. As a result what we are offered is from just 0.1% of the writers. There is inequality in participation which makes poor commenting and lesser number of feedback.

Desirable Writing Quality or Standard

The problem could also be viewed from online community users’ point of view. Let me share some thoughts that come to my mind.
1. Knowledge or Experience or familiarity on a given topic:
a. The topic discussed could be new or unfamiliar to most of the users.
b. The writing may include more jargon and the terminologies go unfamiliar on most of the occasions.
c. Lack of knowledge of language, region, nation, culture, customs, manners, lifestyle, weather, food, costumes and so on.
d. It may be a poem. To comment a poem we need emotional understanding and rules and conventions for writing poems.
e. Regional authors use slangs, foreign language terms and cultural terminologies.
f. Sometimes personalities could not be familiar to online users of some other region or country.
2. Writing styles also influence commenting: It is recommended that the writers are supposed to write in a voice to invite more interaction. It is also suggested to put more questions to keep the conversation moving and to ease the process of understanding. People expect that the subject should be directly addressed to them. If this trick is understandable the writer will get more comments. If you are not receiving comments just change your writing style.
3. Policy on commenting: Some blog / websites consider commenting as spam. Some other condemns activities related to self promotion and self linking. Some other policy enforcers insist on to restrict with very few comments. Some may introduce / or commenting as a policy. There ends the writers enthusiasm.
4. Low Traffic influence commenting: Websites with low traffic will also affect commenting. For example Associated Content gets more US people visiting the site and lesser number of Indian populations. Triond and Wikinut encourage and support more international visitors. Lesser number of visitors to the website, lack of familiarity, policy on payment of royalty and harsh attitude in dealing writers will heavily discourage publishing and subsequent commenting.
5. Knowledge on writing to invite more traffic: Lack of knowledge in understanding the website ranking metrics and tools. How the posts published receive attention and how best they are indexed with keywords? How often they are best hyper linked to invite inbound traffic? If the entire writing community understands the tricks website traffic, the commenting will not be a problem.

Kinds of Posts

Angus Shaw has come out with 18 kinds of posts which invite more traffic. Herewith I just list out the points:
1. Posts offering competitions, freebies invite more comments. Example: Mommy Blog
2. Promote yourself posts
3. Well researched lists and useful resources posts. Example: 10 Rules for Website design
4. Opinion Posts invite relevant opinion from your niche. Example: If you are not an Internet marketer share your opinion about Affiliate Company.
5. Readers Generated Posts – posts authored by many authors.
6. Series Posts – Capable of engaging the users. Multi-part serials on technical subjects i.e., website traffic
7. How-to-Guide Posts – How-to-do blogging i.e., tips for beginners
8. Group Writing / Blog Carnivals – Indian Blog Carnival – best blog marketing tip contest
9. Personal Stories / Motivational Posts
10. Humors / Funny Posts
11. In depth / detailed Posts – How to Backpack
12. Creative Posts – 20 CSS Tricks
13. Ask a Question Posts – Example Helium Posts
14. Interview Posts – Example Website metrics with expert answers
15. Real-time Posts – Latest events and hot trends Example: Google eBooks
16. Reveal Post – Example: An interview with Dig top user
17. Debate Posts / Controversial Posts – Example Helium Posts
18. Relatable Posts – Why men should give women gifts on Valentine’s Day?

Encouragement and Support for the Right Content

The online user community is bound by encouraging and supporting the right content. Of course it is not possible to read all the published posts and make comments. It could be restricted to any subject or topic, trend, lifestyle or anything that attracts you. If not encouraged or motivated the right content the writers’ enthusiasm will diminish. Just feel free to comment your opinion. You are free to add few more points and make things better and lively. You may even point out the basic structure, spelling, and grammar and so on. The writer expects more inputs from his target audience and your comments may improve his writings. The right content must be supported with lot of appreciation. But customary words like ‘interesting post’, ‘useful post’, ‘great posts’ may not communicate the right intention. Some irrelevant comments also reported. The post shared some agonized feeling about loss of person. The comment was ‘great post.’ Let the commenting need not be a ritual. Even absence of commenting will be better for the give situation. Hopefully this article will encourage you to add right comment to the right content at the right time.


1. 10 Techniques to Get More Comments on Your Blog by Darren Rowse
2. 18 Types of Posts That Get More Comments by Angus Shaw
3. Jakob Nielsen. Participation Inequality: Encouraging More Users to Contribute Alertbox, October 9, 2006

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author avatar Denise O
17th Mar 2011 (#)

Very nice read. I just had to delete 700 messages in my box, as I have not been able to be on wikinut for the last few weeks because of my health. I hated having to do so but, it was just overwhelming. Mind you now, I still have 170 messages left in my box, I will answer. I also want to add, if you leave a comment on a page, then someone reading that page, just might click on to your name, to see what you're about. So with leaving your foot print on another article, may help you in the end. Also, I love reading all the different articles on all kinds of topics and in the long run, it has improved my writing skills. All fine points my friend. Thank you for sharing.:)

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author avatar Jerry Walch
17th Mar 2011 (#)

Ditto Denise comments.

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author avatar muthusamy
18th Mar 2011 (#)

Thank you Denise O and Jerry Walsh for the review. We are overloaded with posts - posts of different kinds, poems, travelogue, series of technical information, writing tips, ways to earn money and so on. Only handful of people at Wikinut take pain read good share of posts published. My concern is that at least they have to continue their mission.

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author avatar Ibolya Lőrincz
20th Mar 2011 (#)

Hi, Muthusamy,

I think, you have touched a sore point of online writing. Well, that is true, that you cannot read everything that appears but if you read one or two articles a day, it does not take up much time to add some thoughts to them. And as Denise pointed out, it might promote our wrtings as well. Let's hope there will be more and more people reding this useful message of yours. Congratulations.

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author avatar Muthusamy
21st Mar 2011 (#)

Thank you Ibolya Lőrincz for your comments

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author avatar Greenfaol
21st Mar 2011 (#)

This is so very true. I think the main reason so many people don't leave comments is that they don't know what to say. When I disagree with something someone has read, sometimes i won't bother commenting (this is very rare). I do not like giving negative comments.
However, I think there is a big difference between negative and constructive. i recently (on another site) commented on someone's writing. they did not always put spaces between the words, sothatitwasveryhardtoread!
Great debate :D

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24th Mar 2011 (#)

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author avatar vpaulose
27th Mar 2011 (#)

Really a very useful post. Thank you my brother Muthusamy. Please do write more on this.

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author avatar Retired
31st Mar 2011 (#)

as always when I read your writing it makes me think. I have found that by reading teh stats I can improve what I write about, but at teh same time I need to remeber that my readers are exectly that-- readers. Great writing.

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author avatar Mike Robbers
13th Jun 2013 (#)

Informative and useful article. I couldn't agree more with your views.

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author avatar Phyllis Smith A.
13th Jun 2013 (#)

Excellent information.
I read and comment as often as possible.

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